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Genomics of secondary metabolism in Populus: Interactions with biotic and abiotic environments

Description: Populus trees face constant challenges from the environment during their life cycle. To ensure their survival and reproduction, Populus trees deploy various types of defenses, one of which is the production of a myriad of secondary metabolites. Compounds derived from the shikimate-phenylpropanoid pathway are the most abundant class of secondary metabolites synthesized in Populus. Among other major classes of secondary metabolites in Populus are terpenoids and fatty acid-derivatives. Some of the secondary metabolites made by Populus trees have been functionally characterized. Some others have been associated with certain biological/ecological processes, such as defense against insects and microbial pathogens or acclimation or adaptation to abiotic stresses. Functions of many Populus secondary metabolites remain unclear. The advent of various novel genomic tools will enable us to explore in greater detail the complexity of secondary metabolism in Populus. Detailed data mining of the Populus genome sequence can unveil candidate genes of secondary metabolism. Metabolomic analysis will continue to identify new metabolites synthesized in Populus. Integrated genomics that combines various omics tools will prove to be the most powerful approach in revealing the molecular and biochemical basis underlying the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites in Populus. Characterization of the biological/ecological functions of secondary metabolites as well as their biosynthesis will provide knowledge and tools for genetically engineering the production of seconday metabolites that can lead to the generation of novel, improved Populus varieties.
Date: January 1, 2009
Creator: Chen, Feng; Liu, Chang-Jun; Tschaplinski, Timothy J & Zhao, Nan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department